Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brian Barry Juds Hill Riesling 2002

I've recently moved offices with my work. I'm now based near Fleet Street in London, which gives me the opportunity to check out new wine shops. Except they are not really new to me - I used to work in this area a few years ago, but I changed location soon after I caught the wine bug. It was actually (to my chagrin) around the same time that Jeroboams closed their Chancery Lane branch, which was also nearby. Anyway, I'm back.

Located at the intersection of Fleet Street and Fetter Lane is a shop/wine bar called El Vino. There are a bunch of these around, mostly in The City. This particular one is only yards away from another branch, located near Blackfriars tube station.

The business has an interesting history, and you can read all about it on their website.

So, I was peering into the window of the Fleet Street shop, and I noticed they had several bottles of this Riesling, with a sign saying: "Brian Barry Riesling £3.95".

A hand-picked, bottle-aged Clare Valley Riesling for only £3.95 is worthy of investigation. The guy in the shop said it was just a bin-end, as they were now onto the 2004 vintage. I picked up a bottle and opened it that evening.

It has very strong petrol and soap character on the nose and palate. The thick, velvety texture indicates that it is a concentrated wine with much intensity. There wasn't a lot of fruit however, and the acidity seemed to have waned a bit. It was very dry, and had a slightly bitter finish. Food helped a little bit with the bitterness.

I think this may be a bit over the hill (or maybe just too mature for my taste), although I might buy a couple more bottles anyway and experiment with different foods. If possible I'll also pick up a bottle of the 2004 to compare.

UPDATE: I bought a few more bottles of this, and I have to say that the experience has been quite different to that described above. I don't know if the one I tried first was just a dodgy bottle, but the other ones that I've tried are much more enjoyable. More acid and fruit present, and the petrol isn't overwhelming. I also tried the 2004.

Juds Hill Riesling 2002
Clare Valley, Australia
£3.95 (bin-end - £7.75 for the current 2004 vintage)

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